The Isolation of being a Techy Dad
I’ll admit it. I’m a bit of a nerd. (Ok, a huge nerd.) I grew up with not much in the way of social contact between myself and other people. In fact, my social contacts were just as likely to be a source of stress (kids making fun of me, awkwardness around girls, etc) as a source of serenity. Recently, though, I’ve noticed that I’ve been feeling isolated and craving human interaction.
When B and I got engaged, we lived pretty far apart. We talked it over and decided that I should move to be closer to her. So I left my life in my home town, with my then-job/then-co-workers, my friends, my parents, etc and moved to be closer to her. I don’t regret that decision. B’s family is great and I like it here, but there are times when I miss having my own friends and family nearby.
It doesn’t help that my work involves me sitting behind a computer for 8 hours a day, in an office with little to no human contact. My office has no windows, so I just look at four walls all day (when I’m not looking at my computer screen). In addition, my office is in the back of the server room, so I need to close my door lest the air conditioning freeze me out. There are many days whenI don’t say more than "hi" to people face-to-face. (Instant messaging or phone conversations don’t really count.) When I come home, I need to instantly transition from Work-TechyDad to Dad-And-Father-TechyDad. There honestly doesn’t seem like I have any time to just be TechyDad.
Recently, Discovering Dad wrote an article called Making Friends Like a Man. In it, he laments not being able to make more guy friends. I can completely sympathize. Where we live, my wife is near to at least two of her friends. She can decide that she wants to go out with one of them to see a movie, have dinner, or just vent about something. I can go out with… well, nobody really. I’ve lived here for seven and a half years now and I still don’t have a single friend that I can just go catch a flick with or talk with. My life revolves around going to work and being a dad/husband. As much as I like my job and as much as I like being a dad/husband, there are times when I wish I could take a short break from it all and just be myself with a friend or two.
B recently told me that she’ll be heading out one night with a friend of hers to catch an upcoming movie that they wanted to see. I lamented that I couldn’t do the same to see, say Star Trek. B told me that I could go with her father or her friend (who likes Star Trek also), but I said no. I don’t want to go out with her family or her friends. I want friends of my own. However, I’m completely clueless how to remedy the situation.
Do you have many friends outside of work/family? If so, where do you go to socialize/make friends? If not, do you ever feel isolated?
I feel your pain. Not in the growing up part. My first 30 years in Michigan I had a large circle of friends and was always busy with some social activity or get together or we would simply run shopping together. Then I met Brian, much the same way you met B and moved 600 miles to a small town (you have seen it!) I did make some friends once I started working but it will NEVER be the same. I feel alone a lot of times. I would love 3 or 4 gals to catch a movie and dinner with, but it does not happen. I have friends I see and get together with now and then and one friend I road trip with once in awhile, but just not the same as what I was used to. I made my friends at work. Now that Jenna is in school there is opportunity to meet more that way, but now we all have children so that is usually what the activity will be. I am joining a gym and hope to go with my neighbor and will use that to look for maybe some new people. It is tough when we get older simply because friendships are already established, such as those I left behind.
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